Mediterranean Bulgur and Chickpea Salad

Mediterranean Bulgur and Chickpea Salad

We love hearty soups, stews, and casseroles in the winter as much as anything, but sometimes it’s fun to shake it up a bit!  While we do have a new video project underway to highlight our favorite winter soup, we’ve mostly been away from the soup pot, preferring things like winter salads and ethnic-inspired quesadillas instead.


This recipe is another venture away from the traditional winter comfort food, inspired by the highlight of London-based chef Yottam Ottolenghi in this month’s issue of Bon Appetit. We love idea of the play between sweet currants, tangy lemon, salty pistachios, and the bite of the fresh herbs. We added chickpeas to make for a more filling vegetarian dish, and paired it with some spiced roasted cauliflower (recipe to come).

The pair of the salad and cauliflower was perfect – an array of tastes and textures that left us craving more!  We loved the Mediterranean flair in the midst of winter (and lucky for us, we can access local fresh herbs at the Winter Market!).


This meal made a wonderful compliment to an evening with some of our dearest friends – it would also make for a great lunch option to bring to work (the leftovers save well).

Thanks to Aspire Indiana Farms for the parsley!

For more, check out Yottam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook, Plenty.

Other options for Mediterranean-style winter eating:
Greek Quesadillas
Greek Pizza
Tuscan Raw Kale Salad
Roasted Broccoli and Sundried Tomato Penne
Sundried Tomato and Artichoke Capellini
Pasta Puttanesca
Perfect Hummus


Mediterranean Bulgur and Chickpea Salad

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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Yield: 4


  • 2 cups bulgur wheat
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup currants or raisins
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Greek yogurt to serve, if desired


  1. Boil 2 cups of water. In a medium bowl or sealable container, place 2 cups bulgur wheat and 2 cups boiling water. Cover for about 30 to 40 minutes, until water is absorbed and grain is tender. (You also can boil the bulgur, but make sure to leave time for it to cool after boiling. You can spread the bulgur out in a thin layer on a cookie sheet after boiling to speed up the cooling process.)
  2. Meanwhile, thinly slice 1/2 red onion. Chop 1/2 cup fresh parsley and 1/2 cup fresh cilantro. Crush the pistachios (you can place them in a handkerchief or plastic bag and pound with a rolling pin or other heavy item). Zest the lemon (or both lemons). Drain and rinse the chickpeas (if canned).
  3. When the bulgur is ready, in a large bowl, combine bulgur, red onion, parsley, cilantro, chickpeas, 1 cup currants (or raisins), lemon zest, juice from 1 lemon, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 3/4 tablespoon kosher salt, and plenty of fresh ground pepper. Taste, and add more lemon juice as necessary (we added juice from 1 1/2 lemons total).
  4. To serve, garnish with pistachios, or stir them in to the salad. (We generally garnish with nuts instead of stirring them in, since they tend to become soggy in any leftovers.) Serve with Greek yogurt and spiced cauliflower, if desired.


Inspired by Yottam Ottolenghi

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    January 9, 2012 at 4:47 am

    What I love the most about your recipes is seasonality. You truly give me faith about it as I plan to move to the US soon. Being Italian, it’s out of question to eat seasonal food, but I am so scared of losing it moving to the other side of the ocean…thanks for inspiring me and making me change my mind! I love every single recipe you two make! My husband and I eat in a very similar way and I am glad to find these similarities, I don’t feel an alien at least…:)

    • Reply
      January 9, 2012 at 8:39 pm

      Oh, how nice! Thank you for the nice compliments. So glad that we could help change your mind about American eating! Where are you moving to? Best of luck with the transition! (We’d gladly trade you and move to Italy :) )

  • Reply
    Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living
    January 9, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I’ve been seeking out grain salad recipes, so this one came around at just the right time! I have actually never cooked bulgur before, but I’m all about trying new whole grains. Looks healthy and delicious – my kind of salad!

  • Reply
    jackie @ marin mama cooks
    January 9, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Hi guys! I just discovered your blog over the weekend and I am loving everything I see. Your photographs are simply beautiful.

    This salad looks amazing and so healthy, right up my alley. I love eating meals like this for lunch when the kids are in school. I am also a huge fan of roasted cauliflower and tend to throw that in anything. I can’t wait to give this recipe a try.

    • Reply
      January 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      Thank you so much! We’re huge cauliflower fans here too :) Let us know if you try it out!

  • Reply
    January 9, 2012 at 11:37 am

    This looks perfect for this time of year. The currants really elevate the flavor. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    January 9, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I just love your recipes. they always come at the time I am thinking about the ingredients! I agree with Valeria & the seasonality of your recipes. HURRAH!

  • Reply
    Sylvie (A Pot of Tea)
    January 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I just bought some bulghur to make Imjadara with Roasted Cauliflower today, so will have to try this with what will be left over. You can never go wrong with an Ottolenghi recipe! Delicious.

  • Reply
    janet @ the taste space
    January 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Looks great! It has been such a long time since I’ve had bulgur – I should change that. :)

  • Reply
    January 9, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Love the dollop of Greek yogurt on the side – a perfect accompaniment. I’m not a huge chickpea fan, though I keep trying and trying. I do LOVE bulgur, though – actually just posted bulgur on my blog today. :) This looks really delicious.

  • Reply
    January 9, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Hey guys, I was just remarking on the weird fact that we both put out roasted cauliflower salads with grain and chickpeas. Weird…and they are side by side on Tasteologie. Great minds do think alike!

    Oh and I love your new (to me!) picture as well…;)

    • Reply
      February 29, 2012 at 10:34 pm

      Ha – how funny is that! (Sorry on the late response here…) :) Thanks on the pic too! :)

  • Reply
    January 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    What a perfect dish that is hearty, healthy, and vibrant! I’m excited to try it.

  • Reply
    Clayton Owen
    January 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    This is an outstanding recipe. I only made one change (because I screwed up). I added 1/2 a shallot and a red onion. I also cut up a Hass Artichoke cause I thought it would taste good, it did! My wife loved it and she hates everything I make:-)

    • Reply
      February 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      Haha — those changes sound delicious! Glad to provide the inspiration! :)

  • Reply
    February 11, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Just wanted to say that I’ve made 3 of your recipes so far and loved every single one! Made this with quinoa instead because it was what I had on hand and it was so delicious and fresh and the flavor was just perfectly balanced. Your recipes are just lovely!

    • Reply
      February 29, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      Oh thank you! That is so nice of you to say. Quinoa would be perfect as well – we’ll have to try that too!

  • Reply
    February 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I made this for my take-to-work lunch this week. Everything works together so well: the crunch of the pistachios, the coolness of the cilantro, the pop of the onion, the sweetness of the raisins. Delicious.

    I almost got lazy with the cauliflower because I actually love it raw and I was tired, but I motivated myself to roast it and, though I had to take it out earlier than your recipe said so it didn’t char, it is now one of my favorite ways to make it!

    All of this with the Greek yogurt was perfection.

    • Reply
      February 29, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      Thanks for such a thoughtful comment! We love to hear when people try out the recipes (especially when they enjoy them too)! :)

      The roasting time does depend on the oven for the cauliflower — lucky for you, you get to eat yours sooner :)

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